The burning question for many folks on the heals of hiring their reception entertainment is “Which is best, a Band or a DJ? Who better to ask this question than me! I have been both a band member and a DJ so I am pretty versed yet neutral when it comes to this very subject and I will tell you why.
If we look back a few decades ago, bands were dominating the wedding industry. It was just a natural progression to hire a live band for your wedding reception. A DJ was just one person, whereas with a band you had from a 4-10 musicians playing live music at your event. There was nothing like the excitement of hearing all those musicians play your favorite wedding tunes live and in person.
In the early 80’s, DJ’s really came onto the party scene. There seemed to be a trend of folks wanting to hear the original version of the latest music being played on the radio rather than it being recreated by live musicians. Since then DJ’s have been the obvious choice.
So here’s my take on all of this. Whether you hire a band or a DJ you are going to get what you pay for. It is exactly the same in both the band and DJ industries. I started off as a musician but then segued into being a DJ and because I have experience with both I always have explained it this way. If you are going to spend some serious money on entertainment and you love the idea of having that live music presence, then hire a band but I want to stress not just hiring a “good” band. You need to hire a “really great” band. If you don’t have the big budget (professional wedding bands start at around $4000) then I say go the path of a DJ but let me be very clear once again; don’t scrimp on your entertainment. This is an investment for a very important day with all your friends and family attending. Your entertainment will absolutely make or break your party and could be the difference between your guests staying for the whole event or going home right after dinner. The average price for a professional DJ in Southern California can range from $1500 to $2500 based on the companies reputation, what your needs are and how many contracted hours.
There is one more choice that has become very popular as of late and that is a Band/DJ combination. This is by far the best bet for your entertainment because of one simple reason. You have the best of both worlds. You have live entertainment playing all the classic identifiable party songs that gets all ages on the dance floor and then having the DJ (during the band breaks) playing all the current music that is sometimes hard to recreate unless you have a superb "Top 40" wedding band playing at your event.
Ask your entertainment company if they offer this kind of package. We’ve had this service for about 5 years now and it has made good sense for a lot of our clients. Essentially it keeps all your guests happy.
By Lisa Capitanelli Kasberg